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Extension Videos for the Upcoming Growing Season

Posted: April 27, 2017

The Penn State Extension Tree Fruit team has created videos to refresh growers on innovative growing techniques for the start of the 2017 growing season.
The video “Apples for the Retail Market” provides Dr. Rob Crassweller’s recommendations for varieties to grow for a farm market or retail stand.

The video “Apples for the Retail Market” provides Dr. Rob Crassweller’s recommendations for varieties to grow for a farm market or retail stand.

The topics of these videos focus on orchard practices that help increase efficiency and profitability. Videos were developed in part from the findings of NIFA Beginning Farmer and NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) projects. The beginning farmer project was designed to showcase best management strategies for tree fruit, berry, and vegetable production in commercial plots across the state. The CIG projects aimed to develop growing systems and technologies that allow for greater mechanization and labor efficiency in orchards, with the long-term goal of developing fully automated orchard systems.

If you are establishing an apple or peach block, the Apple Orchard System Blueprint and Peach Pruning Blueprint  videos will give you excellent information on training and pruning. The Apple Orchard System Blueprint explains seven fundamental components necessary for establishing a successful tall spindle planting. These components are the results of the research efforts of Dr. Jim Schupp and other project team members.

The Peach Pruning Blueprint reviews training and pruning peach trees from planting to maturity to ensure you have well shaped peach trees that can produce optimum yields. This video also reviews how to calculate the number of fruiting shoots to keep on the tree to achieve a targeted crop load per acre. These calculations were determined through years of data collection by Dr. Rich Marini, and have been successfully used by growers to efficiently prune their trees.

The team has also developed videos on tree propagation, Bark Grafting Apple Trees  and Bench Grafting Apple Trees. As the bark on your trees starts to slip, some growers may consider topworking a block over to a new variety. The bark grafting video was developed in part from last May’s Young Grower's Association (YGA) grafting workshop held in Biglerville with Dr. Schupp. In addition to describing the materials needed and providing a step by step how-to, the subsequent care of the trees is discussed.

The bench grafting video explains how to propagate old heirlooms or unique mutations you may have growing on-site to dwarfing rootstocks to evaluate their potential use in the orchard. The video also discusses how to care for the young grafted trees before they are planted out into the orchard. The team has also added a video of Dr. Rob Crassweller to the site explaining how to bud graft trees in the late summer, an excellent technique for propagating multiple trees from a single piece of scionwood.

Soil health can be a major concern as growers push out old blocks. The Penn State Start Farming Team put together a video explaining how the physical properties of a soil impact the soil’s health. To improve soil health when replacing a block, the orchard bio-renovations video discusses a cover crop strategy that helps maintain soil organic matter, and decreases fungal diseases and nematodes. Apple plots across the state are currently testing this renovation practice in the Penn State Models for the Future project.

If you need to brush up on scouting strategies, we have our IPM in Apple Orchards video, which reviews scouting apple scab and mites, and also provides information on beneficial insects.

Many of the above videos have also been translated to Spanish. These translations are part of a larger effort to develop more educational materials in Spanish for Latino farmers throughout the state, and are made possible in part by a USDA beginning farmer and a PDA specialty crop grant. Videos can be found at the Español: Resources in Spanish page of the Penn State Extension website.

The team recently released a video on selecting apple cultivars to plant for retail marketing, and soon will release a video on trellis construction, which will explain the engineering principles and key components of a well-designed trellis. We are currently working on a video discussing apple rootstocks for use in high density orchards, and are finishing up a video on cultivars for the wholesale market.

All of the videos discussed are available at the following links:

Contact Information

Mike Basedow
  • Extension Educator, Tree Fruit
Phone: 717-334-6271 x331